Holy Cross Players in Learning Stages as Football Resumes

By Steve Svetovich

After a one year suspension due to lack of participation, Holy Cross head football coach Dave Gatto build together enough players to field a team this season.

“Nobody figured we would be playing this year, but we are,” said coach Gatto, now in his third year as Crusader head football coach after serving four years an an assistant.

There are 21 players on the Holy Cross roster this season, with only a five-game schedule due to COVID-19. 

“We are expecting a couple more players to join the team,” said Gatto. “Most of the guys who came out for this year’s team never played before. We have only two seniors, eight juniors, seven sophomores and four freshmen. We were trying to get to 19 or 20 players to field a team and we did. 

Holy Cross coach Dave Gatto

“It is going to be a learning experience.”

Coach Gatto is assisted by Vince Coviello, Chris Coviello, Joe Giorgio, Jake Gatto, T.J. McDonnell and Jim Talarico. 

“I have a great coaching staff.” 

Holy Cross lost its first game of the season, 56-7, to powerhouse Lackawanna Trail, Friday, Oct, 2, at Clinton Township.

Holy Cross scored late in the contest on a two yard touchdown burst by Wyett Walchak. A Logan Tierney 39-yard kickoff return set the Crusaders up at the Lackawanna Trail 35. A personal foul penalty aided the touchdown drive. Walchak booted the extra point.

The Crusaders will play another powerhouse, Old Forge, Saturday, October 10. Holy Cross will finish the short season against Montrose, Holy Redeemer and Susquehanna.

Junior Sean Herbert, who never played football before this season, is the team’s quarterback. “He’s a good athlete and a smart kid,” said Gatto. “He can move and he’s learning a lot. He never played before, so we are happy for him.”

Herbert worked out on conditioning and lifting with the football team last season before the decision was made to not field a team for 2019. 

He worked out on his own getting ready for 2020 and even served as a recruiter getting enough other students to suit up this season in order to field a team.

Other players on the team include senior lineman Robert Kane, senior fullback/linebacker Brandon Ludovici, junior wide receiver Zach Luciani, junior linemen Nick Cabets, Matt Tucker and Gurpreet Lahl, junior backs Gavyn Grems and Cameron Moczulski, sophomore tight end/middle linebacker Tierney, sophomore two-way tackle Andrew Naim, sophomore center Vince Tananna, sophomore guard Cody Schoonover, sophomore running backs Walczak and Fred Strein, sophomore tight end Bobby Staples, freshman tackle Chris Petrucci and freshmen receivers Kevin Whelen, Connor Art and Brandon Art.

Holy Cross continues to play its home games at Monsignor Crotti Field at Saint Anthony’s Playground, Dunmore.

Holy Cross has a male enrollment of 109 students.

“We re a very young team,” said coach Gatto. “Most of these kids never played football before, but they really wanted to play. They are willing to learn. 

“We were willing to throw them into the water. The attitude has been great so far. Our first two opponents are extremely tough, but we feel the team will be very competitive the final three games.

“We are a small school. Last season, a few of the seniors left. The perfect storm hit us and knocked us out, so we could not field a team. 

“Our principal, Ben Tolerico, was in favor of us fielding a team this year. We put a team of 21 together and expect a couple more. So we have something going for now and the future here at Holy Cross. And the enthusiasm and attitude has been great. They are learning week by week.” 

Holy Cross plays in the Lackawanna Football Conference Division IV.

Logan Tierney Aiming to Lead Holy Cross to Respectability

By Steve Svetovich

Holy Cross sophomore Logan Tierney plays several roles on the Holy Cross Crusaders football team. 

He is a two-way starter at middle linebacker and tight end. And he also returns kicks.

A 39-yard return on a kickoff helped lead Holy Cross to its first score of this season in a 55-7 loss to tough Lackawanna Trail. 

Tierney is one of 21 players currently on this year’s team. Holy Cross did not field a team last season due to not having enough players. 

He also starts as a power forward for veteran coach Al Callejas on the Holy Cross basketball team. 

Son of Angela and Thomas Tierney, Logan has an impressive 3.3 academic average at Holy Cross. His favorite subject is history. 

The sophomore scholar-athlete said his parents are his biggest supporters.

“No matter whether I have a good game or bad game, they are always behind me and always have my back. If it’s a bad game, they tell me I will bounce back the next one.”

He talked about the potential growth of the team and the football program at Holy Cross. “We are going to be a decent team this season and in the future. We need to be patient and develop as a team. We certainly have the potential to develop this year and in the future.”

Logan said he is learning a lot from Holy Cross head football coach Dave Gatto. “He teaches us that no matter what type of adversity or road blocks we have as a team, that we just have to stick together as a team and push through it.” 

Unlike many of his current teammates who have no prior football experience, Logan played midget football in Valley View leagues. He has grown to love the game.

He enjoys playing the middle linebacker position on defense and said to excel you need to practice tackling, move well and be strong. He said you need to both block and catch well to be a good tight end in high school football. 

Logan said he likes Holy Cross a lot and wants to graduate with honors and “absolutely” play football in college. 

“Those are the goals,” he said.

He enjoys listening to music in his spare time and particularly likes the Zach Brown Band who he saw in concert. 

Logan said he was “very ready” to play football this season after his school’s one year hiatus. “I could not wait to get started. We will get better week by week. We need to be patient. More than half of the kids on our team never played before. I think only seven played before. But we will still work hard to get better and compete.”

Dunmoreans Awarded Scholarships Through Scranton Area Community Foundation

The Scranton Area Community Foundation has announced its 2020 scholarship recipients, benefiting 150 local students from various schools in the area from scholarship funds administered by the Foundation. 

A total of $442,805 was recently distributed through 49 scholarships, including the highly-competitive James F. Swift scholarship.

The following Dunmore High School students were scholarship recipients: Maria Augusta, Bell Pendon, Catherine A. Alu Memorial Scholarship and Patrick Andrew Luptak Scholarship; Daniel Walsh and Steven Borgia, Joseph P. McDonald Memorial Scholarship; Rebecca Lucas and Alec Yanisko, James F. Swift Scholarship.

The following Holy Cross High School students were scholarship recipients: Andrew Joseph Smith, Constance M. & Joseph A. Brocavich Memorial Scholarship; Amaya Jackson, Jeffrey Morgan Davis Memorial Scholarship; Tori Kovalchick, James F. Swift Scholarship, and Luke Mozeleski, John R. & Maureen J. Pesavento All Saints Interparochial Academy Scholarship; 

Scholarship recipients are selected annually by various scholarship committees at the Foundation.

The Scranton Area Community Foundation is a partner with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) in their Partnership for Access to Higher Education (PATH) Program to offer qualifying students additional financial aid. Through PHEAA, many scholarship recipients may be eligible for additional dollars toward their tuition.

Typically, Scranton Area Community Foundation scholarship recipients are recognized at scholarship award ceremonies but, due to the current public health crisis related to COVID-19, this was not possible this year.

For more information on any of the scholarships at the Scranton Area Community Foundation, please contact Brittany Pagnotti, Communications Manager of the Scranton Area Community Foundation at 570-347-6203.

To establish a scholarship fund in honor of or memory of a loved one or to include a scholarship as a legacy gift in your estate plans, please contact the Scranton Area Community Foundation today or visit safdn.org to learn more.